A Concord man was sentenced in Martinez today to 40 years to life in prison for a 2010 drive-by shooting in front of a busy bar that left a 30-year-old man temporarily paralyzed. Nicholas Cox, 31, was convicted last fall of a drive-by shooting and shooting into an occupied building at Vinnie’s Bar and Grill on Mount Diablo Street on March 7, 2010. The jury hung, however on charges filed against him in connection with a second shooting the same night at the Premier Inn at 1581 Concord Ave.
That shooting did not cause any injuries. Deputy District Attorney Simon O’Connell said witnesses described seeing Cox acting confrontational inside Vinnie’s Bar and Grill before leaving in a hurry the night of March 7, 2010. Moments later, Cox drove by and opened fire, shooting a 30-year-old Concord man multiple times in the neck and back, according to the prosecutor. No one else was injured. During his trial, the defendant testified that he started shooting in self-defense after driving by the bar and seeing someone pointing a gun at him.
The victim suffered major injuries and was paraplegic for about two months after the shooting. He has since regained mobility, O’Connell said, after undergoing “pretty arduous” physical therapy, and was able to walk into court to testify last year. The prosecutor said Cox opened fire a second time later that night at the Premier Inn, where a man overheard him arguing with his girlfriend and confronted him.
No injuries were reported in that shooting, which sent bullets flying through a hotel room window, according to O’Connell. Cox left the scene and abandoned the car he had been driving during both shootings, and his girlfriend attempted to hide the gun used during both incidents. Responding to reports of the two shootings, police quickly located the car, the gun, and later Cox, who ended up back at the Premier Inn. At the time of the two shootings he was out on parole after serving time in connection with a robbery in San Francisco, O’Connell said.
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